Gawker Loses Its Unbelievable Traffic Machine

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Neetzan Zimmerman is leaving Gawker Media to work at social media startup Whisper.

Zimmerman has what we in the blogging game call the “pageview gene.”*

He generates an insane amount of traffic. How insane, you ask? Well, for Gawker.com he was 99% of the site’s uniques.

For Gawker Media at large, he was equally impressive. Using Gawker’s publicly posted traffic for its writers, we put together the following comparison of Gawker, Gizmodo, and Lifehacker.

In October, Zimmerman alone had more unique visits than Gizmodo or Lifehacker.

His departure will leave a big hole in Gawker Media, but the company has 106 million monthly visits, so it will survive just fine.

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50 Attributes of a Great Copywriter

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50 Attributes of a Great Copywriter

 

50 Attributes of a Great Copywriter

Suppose you’re in the market to hire a great copywriter. Suppose you’re in the market to become a great copywriter.  What are the attributes of success? After spending many decades writing, editing and hiring/managing writers, here are 50 attributes of a great copywriter that stand out to me.

What can you add to the list?

1. Curiosity. Writers are like six–year-olds; they always want to know why. Curiosity is the gateway to clarity. As Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.“

2. Clarity. The difference between a writer and someone who writes is that the former enlightens the reader while the latter confuses the reader.

3. Passion. Further down, I’m putting words like “boring” and “trivial” in quotations because to great copywriters, nothing is boring or trivial if that’s what they’re writing about.

4. Vocabulary. More than just knowing a lot of words, writers must know the nuances of meaning that distinguish, say, notorious from famous.

5. Precision … The devil is in the details of grammar, punctuation and style. From sloppy copywriting, readers infer a sloppy author (i.e., your company).

6. … Without perfectionism. If a writer never says, “Done!” nothing ever gets published.

7.  Diligence. Professionals are expected to work efficiently and meet deadlines. This applies to copywriters and other creative talent.

8.  Ability to multitask. How nice it would be if copywriters could handle one assignment at a time. Unfortunately, in the real world they have to juggle jobs just like everyone else.

9. Focus. To multitask effectively, copywriters need the ability to stay in the moment, focusing entirely on the job at hand. Distractibility diminishes quality.

10. Self-motivation. The manager who motivates a writer to write by screaming, “WRITE!” has yet to be born.

11. Self-editing. Arrogance undermines quality. Great copywriters know when their own ideas stink and treat them accordingly.

12. Versatility of form. Business writing is so much more than articles and web pages; I once described 18 types of odd copywriting jobs. The more of these assignments a writer can handle, the more valuable he or she is to any business or agency or client.

13. Versatility of voice. Some writers master the conversational style; others master the technical or formal (boardroom) style. Those who can move gracefully from one style to another are rare treasures indeed.

14. Versatility of purpose. Some writers are uncomfortable with the concept of a hard sales pitch; other writers are uncomfortable with “boring” assignments. Great writers are uncomfortable with not writing.

15. Consistency of quality. Great copywriters consistently turn in work of high quality, rather than just being great when they feel like it or by chance.

16. Is quick on the uptake. Because of deadlines, copywriters often have to learn on the job and on their own – and quickly.

17. Knows when to stop learning. Being quick on the uptake also means knowing when you know enough to get the job done. Writers who feel the need to know everything before hitting the keyboard never get started.

18. Knows when to ask for help. A writer has two choices: struggle endlessly with a vexing problem or get help from a subject matter expert. The latter option improves speed and accuracy.

19. Knows whom to ask for help. A writer is only as good as the brain trust that surrounds him or her. Choose collaborators wisely. There may be no such thing as a foolish question, but without a doubt, there is such a thing as a foolish answer.

20. Handles criticism professionally. Clients, internal personnel and editors always criticize draft copy. If these people feel they must walk on eggshells when dealing with the writer about edits, morale and productivity suffer mightily.

21. Defends the work. Great writers not only accept and even welcome constructive criticism, they also turn the tables and make a persuasive case for their work. Clients, managers and editors are not always right; an overly compliant writer contributes to mediocre content.

22. Has perspective. On the other hand, great writers don’t make mountains out of molehills. Writers who continually get hung up on small matters of style or approach infuriate coworkers and bosses. 

23. Knows the rules. When it comes to punctuation, grammar and style, writers can’t make it up as they go along. Because both correctness and consistency are important, good writers are familiar with the rules (e.g., AP style) that govern their type of writing.

24. Knows when to violate the rules. Selectively breaking rules is a sophisticated technique for capturing attention. Apple’s “Think Different” campaign succeeded in part by departing from the boring and pedestrian phrase, think differently

25. Uses plain English. Knowing a lot of words is good, but using obscure words is bad. As Stephen King said, “Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word.” This is as true for fiction as it is for business copy.

26. Is a master of brevity. Any writer can spew out 1,000 words on a given topic. A great writer condenses the topic down to 300 powerful ones.

27. Knows how to go long. Brevity in business writing, while generally advantageous, is not always so. Certain types of content, such as landing pages for complex products, demand long copy. Again, any writer can spew out 1,000 words of drivel, but it’s the great writer who can compose 1,000 words of irresistible persuasion.

28. Understands the business world. Writers write well about what they know. Thus, a first-rate copywriter understands the business process, customer behavior and basic business concepts such as features and benefits.

29. Anticipates reader questions and concerns. Because great writers understand the business world, they are able to identify probable reactions from the target audience – and address them in the copy. In addition, this knowledge enables them to discard messaging points that are not pertinent. An ounce of anticipation is worth a pound of verbosity.

30. Recognizes gaps and weaknesses in the information or ideas being presented. Business savvy enables great writers to spot flaws in the case they are being tasked to make; their input can be enormously valuable to a firm’s sales and marketing leadership.

31. Plays nice with designers. Business copy is more than just cranked out text. It is an important component of a brochure, web page, slide presentation or some other form heavily influenced by design. Writers and designers must be flexible and patient when working together to hammer out the finished product.

32. Knows SEO. Copywriters need not be SEO experts, but they do need to know the basics of keywords, anchor text structure and a few other details. SEO comes into play in such things as text, headlines, subheads, Meta titles and Meta descriptions.

33. Muscles through writer’s block. Writing when inspiration is lacking is agonizing – in fact, it’s every writer’s nightmare. Great business writers have the ability to crank it out even when ideas are harder to come by than five-sided snowflakes.

34. Tells stories. Today’s content strategies have circled back to perhaps the oldest technique of all, storytelling. The ability to spin yarns is essential for case studies, landing pages, slide presentations, videos and a multitude of other forms.

35. Is observant. Writing without seeing the details is like playing solitaire with a 49-card deck. You can’t win.

36. Listens. Most great writers I know are better at listening than talking – maybe because writers are often introverts by nature. Listening is crucial to many aspects of business, including content creation, because it is the surest way to understand the needs of a company’s leadership and its customers.

37. Takes notes. Relying on memory alone, a writer forgets or misremembers most of what he or shehears and observes.

38. Thinks logically. Most business writing is aimed at influencing action – influencing prospects to buy, customers to stay, investors to invest, etc. Since business decisions are made in part based on compelling arguments, copywriters must be able to lay them out.

39. Writes with emotion. Because business decisions are also based on feelings, writers must be able to provoke an emotional response in many of their assignments. Warm prospects freeze when exposed to cold writing.

40. Reads enthusiastically. Great writers are great readers. Reading is to writers what exercise is to athletes.

41. Reads widely. Versatile and authoritative writers read all sorts of things – newspapers, novels, history, comics, or even washing instruction labels if nothing else is available.

42. Reads deeply. Great writers enjoy mastering a subject. The combination of depth and breadth of reading facilitates the versatility in form and style mentioned above.

43. Isn’t a desk jockey. Great copywriters aren’t just about reading and writing. Instead, they go out into the real world and talk to employees, customers and even competitors. Without this, they lose their feel – or never acquire it.

44. Borrows well. Creative copywriting is often an exercise in recognizing effective content and adapting it to the job at hand. Great writers are discriminating judges of talent.

45. Borrows professionally. Crediting a source in the form of a mention, a link and/or a formal citation is a necessary element of credible and creditable writing.

46. Has a mentor. Exceptional writers almost always speak highly of a teacher, an editor or a writer who inspired and taught them.

47. Is not blunt. Many writers tell it too much like it is. Great writers control this tendency.

48. Is not temperamental. Many writers have mood swings; perhaps this goes with the creative territory. Great copywriters manage this tendency to prevent it from interfering with their work.  

49. Is imaginative. Although in some business situations, imagination may be seen as a negative, employers should not come down too hard on copywriters who appear to be daydreaming or throw out lots of ideas.

50. Possesses a sense of humor. Sylvia Plath and Edgar Allan Poe were brilliant writers, but neither would be particularly effective or happy writing an infomercial script for miracle meat slicers. A lighthearted spirit helps writers plow through “boring” and “trivial” assignments, connect with readers and work well collaboratively.

Over to You

This is quite a long list, but I feel as though I’ve left things out. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure I’ve really captured the essence of a great copywriter in any sense at all. So here are a few questions.

  • What can you add to this list?
  • Are there items here you would remove?
  • What makes you a great writer?
  • What do you look for when hiring a writer?

Categories: Content MarketingHeadline WritingInbound MarketingSocial Media Marketing

28 Factors to Determine the Maturity of Your Inbound Marketing

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English: A business ideally is continually see...

English: A business ideally is continually seeking feedback from customers: are the products helpful? are their needs being met? Constructive criticism helps marketers adjust offerings to meet customer needs. Source of diagram: here (see public domain declaration at top). Questions: write me at my Wikipedia talk page (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Diversification (marketing strategy)

Diversification (marketing strategy) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

28 Factors to Determine the Maturity of Your Inbound Marketing image ID 100171705 resized 600What if there were a maturity model for inbound marketers?

Seriously, I can’t be the only nerd that’s ever wondered this before.

The unofficial intro to maturity models is that they’re what happens when a whole bunch of really smart people get together and use dozens of years of academic experience and professional context to trend what often happens. More officially, accrediting body APMG writes that they’re used for organizations to assess their “methods and processes…according to a clear set of external benchmarks.”

When correctly compiled, these models contain helpful factors like questionnaires and benchmarks. They’re certified and verified by third parties. This blog post isn’t everything you need to determine the maturity of your inbound marketing strategy, but it’s a start. We’ve categorized some criteria that could define a company at each stage:

1. Immature Inbound Marketing

Blogging doesn’t mean your brand’s nailed the ins and outs of inbound marketing, even if you’re doing it on a regular basis. Neither does social media, maintaining an editorial calendar, or any other inbound marketing basics. There’s no shame in having a less mature inbound marketing program, but it is dangerous to close yourself off to concepts of improvement. Signs of a less mature inbound program could include:

  1. Occasional or Intermittent Collaboration Between Silos (Social, Content, and Email)

  2. Basic Lead Nurturing Segments

  3. Fewer than 10 Landing Pages and Content Offers

  4. Undefined and documented strategy

  5. Lack of advanced planning

  6. Inconsistent or Infrequent Metrics Analysis

2. Intermediate Inbound Marketing

Your business could probably do fine if you stagnate at an intermediate level of maturity, and let’s be totally honest – many companies have. In many cases, maturity models are shaped a lot like funnels, but it anecdotally seems that the inbound world’s got a pretty chunky middle. Signs of this stage often include (but aren’t limited to):

  1. Between 10-15 Landing Pages and Content Offers

  2. Documented strategy that’s typically up-to-date

  3. Multiple research-based buyer personas

  4. Lead Nurturing Workflows for Each Content Offer

  5. Inclusion of Visual Content and Targeted Content Curation

  6. Keyword Research and SEO Optimization

  7. Guest Blogging Outreach and Link-Building Strategies

  8. A/B Testing of Landing Pages, CTAs and Emails

3. Advanced Inbound Marketing

There’s really not too many examples of brands who’ve got the inbound marketing thing down so well that it’s hard to find anything wrong with their strategy. ModCloth’s definitely in this category, and so is HubSpot (of course)Betabrand and  AppSumo, are solidly mature, too. If you’re in this latter class, we’d love to hear from you, and about the changes you made to get your program up to par. Signs that you’re passing with flying colors might include the following:

  1. Responsive or mobile-optimized design

  2. Obsessive detail to user experience

  3. Use of 12 or more content marketing tactics

  4. Advanced lead nurturing tactics (accelerated and lost lead campaigns, among others)

  5. Interview-based buyer personas

  6. Ongoing SEO Optimization

  7. More than 15-20 landing pages and content offers

  8. Campaign-themed content and social media marketing

  9. Advanced efficiency measures, including content retargeting and repurposing

  10. Thought leadership among employees, including Google Authorship and Regular Columns

  11. Use of Smart (or Dynamic) Content

  12. Progressive Profiling

  13. Net Promoter Score Surveying

  14. Lead Scoring

Did I mention that the factors above are by no means an official inbound marketing maturity model? That being said, I think every business can benefit from ongoing and thorough evaluation of whether they’re taking full advantage of their marketing tools, and areas in which they could improve. It’s rare to find an organization which fits perfectly into a single stage of even official maturity models, and the inbound world is no exception – maybe your organization’s totally nailed persona-driven content marketing, but struggling with the lead nurturing side of things.

I welcome feedback on these thoughts, and would love to get input on other techniques and tactics organizations tend to adopt as they move toward a more mature inbound strategy.

What do you think are signs of an advanced and well-supported digital marketing program?

28 Factors to Determine the Maturity of Your Inbound Marketing image 29c14190 469d 4d36 8900 3dffef631d2e5

image credit: stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net 28 Factors to Determine the Maturity of Your Inbound Marketing image

Author:Jasmine Henry     Jasmine Henry on the Web Jasmine Henry on Facebook Jasmine Henry on Twitter Jasmine Henry RSS Feed

Jasmine is Content Manager at Inbound Marketing Agents, an innovative Hubspot partner offering full-agency services based in Nashville, TN. She writes about social media, business blogging, crowdsourcing and millennials…. View full profile

This article originally appeared on Inbound Marketing Blog and has been republished with permission.

Find out how to syndicate your content with Business 2 Community.

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The Anatomy of Tomorrow’s Inbound Marketing Strategy Today

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Components of Inbound Marketing

Components of Inbound Marketing (Photo credit: Gavin Llewellyn)

Diversification (marketing strategy)

Diversification (marketing strategy) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Anatomy of Tomorrow’s Inbound Marketing Strategy Today

There are many schools of thought and methodologies defining what inbound marketing should look like. Most of them position content marketing, social media marketing and SEO as the core of inbound marketing. From a 20,000-foot view, this has definite merit. However, with the right technology, enough content, well-developed personae and a good understanding of the brand, inbound marketing strategy can be much more stratified and robust.

The anatomy of a robust inbound marketing campaign has similarities to the human spine. The human spine has five ordered sections – cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacrum and coccyx – all of which are required to be in working order to live a pain-free, normal and productive life.

An inbound marketing strategy has five ordered sections, too – owned and earned media, landing pages, lead nurturing, sales interaction and retention. And all of them are required to widen the sales funnel, create acceleration through it and to optimize Marketing’s impact on revenue. If there’s a problem with any of the sections Marketing’s impact on revenue will not be optimized and the inbound campaign will be in poor health.

Inbound Marketing Funnel

Owned and Earned Media

This is the section that most marketers equate with inbound marketing – publish lots of owned and earned blog posts and articles frequently, organically distribute them through social media and watch Google drive traffic from its SERPs. This process produces lots of benefits, but without a strategy for the other sections it will be difficult to show real ROI.

Purpose: Generate traffic, educate prospects, grow brand, produce thought leadership, build community, produce outside advocates, reduce churn

Tip: Publish blog posts with frequency and consistency. According to Kuno Creative’s Content Marketing Manifesto, publishing five to ten posts per week led to a 633% increase in leads versus just two to three posts per week.

Landing Pages

This is a critical aspect of an inbound marketing campaign. Having lots of good free content is great, but morally bribing website visitors for their email and IP address using gated content is just as important. Once this information is captured, the visitor is no longer anonymous and their content consumption can be tracked and scored. It also allows for future email communication.

Purpose: Capture email and IP addresses

Tip: Analyze and value the inbound and outbound marketing channels that led to conversion with attribution modeling. Use this data to adjust tactics in the first section.

Tip: Deploy A/B or multivariate testing to optimize call to action click-through rates and landing page conversions.

Lead Nurturing

With email addresses captured and other attributes known (other form fields, website behavior, social media profiles, IP address, etc.) lead nurturing, segmentation and scoring can begin. Delivering the right content on the correct channel at the best time separates the wheat from the chaff and empowers the wheat to organically identify themselves as sales qualified leads over time. It also creates an efficient method for identifying and removing unqualified leads from the funnel.

Purpose: Generate more sales qualified leads faster (widens the sales funnel while creating acceleration through it).

Tip: If lead nurturing is a new or unrefined tactic access Eloqua’s Lead Nurturing Toolkit for tactical refinement.

Sales Interaction

Marketing should only deliver leads that are worthy of a sales person’s time. Analyzing and adjusting lead score criteria over time is critical to ensure this happens. However, just as critical is the open flow of communication and lead feedback between Marketing and Sales.

If the inbound marketing strategy is effective, Sales should find their prospects to be highly educated, qualified and ready to do business.

Purpose: Efficiently generate customers

Tip: Connect marketing automation tools with a CRM to help facilitate closed-loop marketing and open communication between Sales and Marketing.

Retention

A big portion of the retention initiative is accomplished by producing copious amounts of earned and owned media, building passionate communities in social media and being highly visible online. These are all activities that should already be deployed if the inbound marketing campaign is healthy.

In addition, Marketing can produce and deliver advanced content created specifically for current customers. This content can be in the form of surveys, guides, cheat sheets, training videos, process infographics, etc. However, this can all be for not if deliverables aren’t fulfilled and expectations aren’t met or exceeded.

Purpose: Reduce churn

Tip: Marketers should keep open communication with fulfillment and account management in order to feel the pulse of current customers. This can help identify possible future churn to target with content before it’s too late.

In high school, anatomy class was a place for students to giggle about the curriculum. However, understanding and implementing the entire inbound anatomy presented above is no laughing matter. In today’s ultra-competitive environment getting inbound right can mean the difference between business success and mediocrity. Getting it right tomorrow may mean the difference between business success and failure.

Why inbound marketing is the way to go

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Infographic Hindenburg

Infographic Hindenburg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Entrepreneurial activity in the US - ...

English: Entrepreneurial activity in the US – specifically for work from home people (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Components of Inbound Marketing

Components of Inbound Marketing (Photo credit: Gavin Llewellyn)

This UML diagram describes the domain of Linke...

This UML diagram describes the domain of LinkedIn social networking system. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why inbound marketing is the way to go

Still need some convincing whether you should get on this road called inbound marketing? Or perhaps you are looking for some more arguments that get your bossed convinced? Then check out this infographic from Voltier Digital, giving you plenty of convincing reasons:

infographic: inbound vs outbound marketing

infographic: inbound vs outbound marketing by Voltier Digital

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Inbound marketing From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Components of Inbound Marketing

Components of Inbound Marketing (Photo credit: Gavin Llewellyn)

Data Matrix, encoding the text: Wikipedia, the...

Data Matrix, encoding the text: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: MaxiCode encoding of the text "W...

English: MaxiCode encoding of the text “Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia”. Intended to replace :Image:UPS_MaxiCode_example.png (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Inbound marketing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the synonymous term coined by Seth Godin, see Permission marketing. For the product management sense of Inbound Marketing, see Product management.

Inbound marketing is advertising a company through blogspodcastsvideoeBooksenewsletterswhitepapersSEOsocial media marketing, and other forms of content marketing which serve to bring customers in closer to the brand, where they want to be.[1][2][3] In contrast, buying attention,[1] cold-calling, direct paper mailradio, TV advertisements,[2] sales flyers, spamtelemarketing[3] and traditional advertising[4] are considered “outbound marketing”. Inbound marketing earns the attention of customers,[1] makes the company easy to be found[2] and draws customers to the website[4] by producing interesting content.[3]

David Meerman Scott recommends that marketers “earn their way in” (via publishing helpful information on a blog etc.) in contrast to outbound marketing where they “buy, beg, or bug their way in” (via paid advertisements, issuing press releases, or paying commissioned sales people, respectively).[5] The term is synonymous with the concept of permission marketing, which is the title of a book by Seth Godin.[3] The inbound marketing term was coined by HubSpot’s Brian Halligan,[2][3][6] in 2005.[7][8] According to HubSpot, inbound marketing is especially effective for small businesses[9] that deal with high dollar values, long research cycles and knowledge-based products. In these areas prospects are more likely to get informed and hire someone who demonstrates expertise.[10]

In one case inbound marketing was defined by three phases: Get found, Convert and Analyze.[1] A newer model from Business2Community illustrates the concept in five stages:[7]

  1. Attract traffic
  2. Convert visitors to leads
  3. Convert leads to sales
  4. Turn customers into repeat higher margin customers
  5. Analyze for continuous improvement

Complex inbound marketing practices target potential customers at various different levels of product/brand awareness. The most scaled tactics attempt to funnel customers from semantically related market segments, who have no product awareness or intention to purchase. This is usually achieved by taking the customer through a structured informational path, that builds awareness and increases interest over time.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. Jump up to:a b c d Leary, Brent (January 27, 2012). “Jeanne Hopkins of HubSpot: All Leads Are Not Created Equal”. Small Business Trends. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
  2. Jump up to:a b c d Basu, Dev (June 29, 2011). “Inbound marketing: The customer finds you”The Globe and Mail. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  3. Jump up to:a b c d e Prescott, Bill (February 5, 2012). “Business Sense: Inbound marketing”. Times-Standard. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  4. Jump up to:a b Benner, Michael (January 19, 2012). “Get Found: 7 Steps to Fire Up Your Inbound Marketing”. Business2Community. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  5. Jump up^ David Meerman Scott. (2010). The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly.(2 ed.). Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons Inc. ISBN 0-470-54781-2.
  6. Jump up^ Gilbert, Alison (February 4, 2012). “INBOUND MARKETING: How to Get Customers Without Really Trying”. Digital Brand. Retrieved February 29, 2012.
  7. Jump up to:a b Pollitt, Chad (October 21, 2011). “The New 5 Step Inbound Marketing Methodology”. Business2Community. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  8. Jump up^ Halligan, Brian; Shah, Dharmesh (2009). Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs. John Wiley & Sons Inc. ISBN 0-470-49931-1.
  9. Jump up^ “Disruptor of the Day: Brian Halligan, Dharmesh Shah & HubSpot – Taking The Hassle Out of Marketing”. Daily Disruption. February 8, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  10. Jump up^ “What is Inbound Marketing with Brian Whalley”. Internet Marketing Podcast. February 21, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
You’ll hear phrases like inbound marketing, digital marketing and Internet marketing used somewhat interchangeably.  What is all this newfangled stuff?  Prospects commonly take themselves through 60% or more of the sales journey (see related post titled “Prospects Take Themselves Through 60% of the Sales Journey“) and this “newfangled stuff” is what helps them find you and learn as much as needed about you.

The attached infographic from The Whole Brain Group does a nice job of explaining it all to the layman.

Check out my other blog posts related to marketing here.

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